Sunday, July 19, 2015

Gama Cafe


Gama Cafe is one of the only places in Edmonton that offers trendy Taiwanese snacks and drinks. I really miss this type of cutesy and semi-pretentious decor that is common among Taiwanese style cafes in Vancouver.


The owner is very talkative if you speak Mandarin, and he kept convincing my friend and I to check in on Facebook for a free gift. The gift turned out to be a small scoop of ice cream.


Complimentary cookies are offered at the beginning of the meal. They look like Kjeldsens butter cookies, but they taste homemade.


Gama's signature drink is the cap tea ($4.95), a Taiwan invention that places frothy cream on top of iced brewed tea. The "cream" is actually made largely of butter, and tasted quite salty by itself. But combine it with the refreshing sweet wintermelon tea on the bottom and the flavour is perfect!


Gama Cafe has a very limited food menu, but it does offer a few hot dishes that include pasta and risotto options (all $14.95). I've tried both the alfredo and basil pasta and the flavours were quite mild. I personally really like it, but others may think it's too bland if they're used to authentic Italian flavours.


I wanted to try the waffle on my first visit, but the owner recommended the Tommi Toast ($14.79) instead. He said waffles can be found anywhere, but the Tommi Toast is a new and more unique trend from Taiwan. Basically these are toasted bread cubes stacked into a tower, cemented together with custard and topped with ice cream and cream. Very good for sharing, but probably too much for just 2-3 people. I also think there's too much custard and cream in general, making it very hard to enjoy more than a few cubes.


I got to try the plain waffles ($9.45) on another visit. The texture was very dense and pillow-like, kind of like a spongy cake. And it was served with the same cream and custard that was in the Tommi Toast. I really didn't like that stuff very much. I actually enjoyed the waffles more than the Tommi Toast because at least I can have this as a meal.


My favourite specialty item at the Gama Cafe is the Taiwanese pancake (a.k.a. wheel cake or 車輪餅, $3.95/order [2 pieces]). There are a variety of flavours including red bean, custard, taro, oreo, chocolate, cheese, etc). The most traditional filling (and also my favourite) is the red bean. I think Gama Cafe is the only place that offers this traditional Taiwanese snack in Edmonton. Please let me know if there are others!


All in all, Gama Cafe is a nice place to catch up with friends. The atmosphere is quiet and private, so it's perfect for chatting. The drinks are unique and tasty, and the dishes are great for sharing. I'm hoping more Taiwanese cafes with more extended menus open in Edmonton!

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